The troubles you’ll face …
Two courts that ruled on the merits of a lawsuit against the deal called Brotman’s sweet agreement in 1996 to buy two 640-acre parcels from the State Land Board inappropriate and voided them. He dodged a bullet when the state Supreme Court didn’t bother with whether the deal was right or wrong, but whether the person who filed the lawsuit, Dick Scudder, had legal standing to do so. The high court threw out the case, saying a school system had to file a such a lawsuit.
And so Scudder, who has land next to one of the parcels Brotman would buy to profit from the construction of trophy homes, persuaded the school board last fall to sue on the promise he would foot all the associated bills.
The board, which has turned over six of seven members since filing its suit, withdrew it while county commissioners Arn Menconi and Tom Stone, working through the county’s state representatives, tried to find a legislative solution that would give the county a chance to preserve the land. No dice.
So the action turns back to court, if the current school board has the stomach for it. Brotman, for whom in this corner we have some sympathy considering the $1.4 million he’s had languishing in escrow all these years, has betrayed a rather bullying nature with his “history lesson” missive to each school board member.
The letter takes special care to explain the perils personally of suing poor Mr. Brotman, who apparently feels he has no choice but to go after people as individuals in addition to settling the question with the board acting in its capacity as the board.
Oh, the credit beating they’ll suffer with his countersuit hanging over each of their heads, the taxes they’ll pay even if Scudder pays for the costs of litigation that fails, the punitive damages Brotman just had to seek in the last go-around.
Wisely, the board members have declined to comment and turned the helpful letter over to the district attorney to look over.
The deal’s so close now, Brotman can hardly stand it. How else do you explain a pretty clumsy attempt to intimidate a volunteer body in a maneuver about as subtle as a sledge hammer?
It’s clear to us, with the benefit of the two lower court rulings, that the State Land Board had no business making these agreements with Brotman.
It’s a real shame that it falls to a school board – fielding such history lessons – to do the right thing about Mr. Brotman’s gambit.